What role did the military play in Nigeria's colonization?

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The British Army played a role in colonizing Nigeria through key victories on the mainland. Once the charter expired in the early 1900s, British troops, led by Frederick Lugard, captured Northern Nigeria by 1903. The army fought multiple tribal leaders and command posts throughout Nigeria. By 1906, the entire country had been conquered and divided into a Southern and Northern structure. In 1914, the colony of Nigeria was officially formed.

The British Navy was used primarily as the police force for the Royal Niger Company. As the British began to colonize Nigeria, there was a huge need to protect the Niger River and all of the oil fields along the coast.

One key fact to know is that Lugard and the British Army used the tribal Chiefs as allies in this process. They promised that the Chiefs would be given back their power in their tribes if they fought for the British. This became the "indirect rule" principle that the British practiced on Nigeria for sixty years.

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